Our Echo
Title, story type, location, year, person or writer
Add a Post
View Posts
Popular Posts
Hall of Fame

Reflections of a Tired Animal Companion Care Giver

Story ID:5376
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Biography
Location:Lakewood Ohio USA
View Comments (6)   |   Add a Comment Add a Comment   |   Print Print   |     |   Visitors
I started off in 1975 with one very, very sweet puppy named Peaches. She
was my first dog and because of her I entered into animal rescue (small
endeavor) and supported animal rights for over 35 years. Any regrets? Yes,
I wasn't always kind to my animals- though the occurences for this were
rare- thank God.

I have fostered over 30 cats and 6 dogs over this period and basically it was
a labor of love. I made many trips to the vets for shots and spaying/neutering
- many trips to the pet shops and grocery stores for bales of shavings, bags
of litter, bags of dry cat and dog food,
cans of cat and dog food. I figure I would
have by now a tidy bank account if I had not entered into this endeavor. Am I
sorry? Heck no. I saw God in every one of these animal creatures. I'm
only sorry that perhaps they did not always see God in me.

I believe that I have reined in my anger when Pearl - a beautiful white
Persian insists on defecating in the corner of the basement which I had
prepared for them- knowing I could not keep all of them in my small living
quarters upstairs. It's not like there weren't enough litter boxes. They
say you should have one for every cat - so basically I tried to provide that.

I can now understand why one winter in 1999 or 2000 two children were at
my door - the boy having this beautiful white cat snuggled in his jacket.
They asked me to take her and I asked why they couldn't keep her. I
already have forgotten their flimsy excuse - but obviously they couldn't train
her to use the litter box. Well, now Pearl, after trying many different ways
to train her- still on occasion reverts to this bad habit. When I see this,
she doesn't get one of the two meals I provide daily. She's pretty chunky -
so this is not cruel and unusual punishment and I point to the corner - pick
up the BM and deposit it in her litter box- which is in a cage just for her.

Each cat has his or her own story. There were some that were absolutely beautiful
and loving in every way. George - a large tabby whom I named after my Slovak dad
was well named. He had beautiful soulful eyes. He was so sweet and kind that I'm
afraid that other cats took advantage of him when I doled out the food in 12 or more
little dishes and then dashed out to my work place. Had I known this was happening,
I SHOULD have gotten up earlier to regulate this feeding where George came out
on the short end.

I believe the animal kingdom is a reflection of the human condition. They all
have their personalities as we and some are more loving and well-behaved than
others. Now I only have 6 rescued cats and one dog. Someone thought that I
do this animal rescue because I like taking in homeless cats and dogs. What
foolish thinking - who would like extra work and doling out extra money for their
care? I would much rather that people would be responsible and neuter/spay
their pets (companian animals is a better, loving term) so that I and others
like me wouldn't have to engage in animal rescue.

Sadly, some misguided souls have become hoarders, and in the long run- they
do not do these rescues any favors. In one place of hoarding featured on TV
there were many dead cats, litters of kittens, some sick cats and the place was
just covered with feces and a terrible oder permeated the whole area. I would be
happy with one cat and one dog now. I am tired-plain and simple. People who
raise children usually happily experience an empty nest syndrome within 20
years or less. Animal care-givers don't have this luxury of saying - well now
I can rest.

At 79 I have cleaned lots and lots of litter boxes - usually twice daily. I have
walked my dogs and stooped to pick their droppings with an inverted plastic
bag - lots and lots of times. If those people who think that doing this for all
these years has been a "pleasurable" pasttime - I would like to disabuse them
right now. I was happy though that I could do it, but now I am feeling my
years. I forgot to take glucosomine for a few days and wow did my right knee
pain me. It is getting harder to move and I do not look forward to shopping
and lifting litter bags and boxes of canned cat food. I only hope that should I
become disabled in any way I can find homes for my 6 cats. The chances- slim
to none. My friend Trudy who put me to shame in regards to animal rescue
(probably more than 100 cats and dogs) was dying from cancer and sadly knew
that she could not find homes for her animals and I believe had them put to

Why am I writing this? Two basic reasons - first to show the difference
between animal rescue and hoarders. We, unlike hoarders, take in only as
many animals as we think we can take care of responsibly. Second - to disabuse
the people who think that this is a "fun" thing to do. No, it is a lot of work and
requires expenditure of money which hopefully we will never need in the future.
It is -however very rewarding- especially when we experience the special cat
or dog who brings us nothing but happiness and pleasure.

My only concern now is to try to get my house in order - getting rid of anything
superflouous so that my time can be devoted to their care- or if ever incapacitated,
I can afford to pay someone to do this for me easily.

The body does wear down - and what I could do 5 years ago has suddenly become
more difficult. So, that's my story in a nut shell. I thank God that he has given
me a compassionate heart. I also worry about the horrors of CAFOs - and of
some of the animals going through the slaughter line alive. I can't believe
how blaze some people are re hearing about this. If we weren't, then why
aren't we writing Congress to do something about it?